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Tag-Archive for "First Class experience 2009"

Experience with Thai First Class – Bangkok to Frankfurt Oct 04

The flight from Bangkok was supposed to leave at 11.55 am but it was a bit delayed. In the beginning I was informed that it was delayed by one hour so when we got to that stage I started asking the staff in the lounge when boarding would start. They just told me to relax and they would let me know :-). So all of a sudden I was told that my flight was ready and one of the lounge staff took me over to C6 and I went on board. I think I must have been the last person on board as as soon as I sat down it seemed like we were closing the door and were pushed back.

I had seat 2A on this TG922 flight and the seat was located in the very nose of this 747 and on my flight and of the 10 first class seats I think 7 were taken. The configuration here is not bad at all as the seats are big and with an ottoman. But there are only 4 seats that are connected so make sure you get one of these if you are traveling as a couple. The headset and toiletry bag was already handed out to the seat and the toiletry bag includes stuff as mouth freshener (good idea), Evian face spray??, lip balm, tooth brush, eye shades, socks etc but no ear plugs. Slippers were also handed out already to start with. A pajama was handed out and it was in a pretty funky purple Thai color…I think I prefer the dark blue Lufthansa one.

When I first sat down I was of course offered champagne and it was Dom Perignon vintage 2000 and it was not bad at all. Takeoff from Bangkok was pretty uneventful even if it was raining pretty badly and soon after we got more champagne and some large nuts. What was a bit strange was after a while in the air it felt like drops of water were dripping from the ceiling. But when closer it seemed like it was small pieces of ice – I guess it was condense water which got frozen but it was weird seeing this fall into the cabin.

The menus were handed out in a big folder and included both the food menu and the drink list. There were two servings on this 11 hour flight and I’ll get back to that later on. The drink list included wines such as Chablis Premier Cru, Fourchaume 2006, Rully 1er Cru 2000, Chateau Haut-Sarpe Grand Cru Classé St. Emilion 2004 and Pommard 2002. I didn’t mind that the serving didn’t start right away as I had to check out my seat and take pictures of the details there. As I mentioned, the seats come with an ottoman which can be used to keep your feet on. But it also acts as a chair if you want to dine with someone – quite clever. The table was huge so it was not a problem serving two people on it. The TV came up from a hatch in the side panel and was a medium size TV…I would still like to see something like the Emirates TV. But the selection of TV and movies were quite good and I enjoyed several movies during the flight.

A bit less than an hour after takeoff the food services started. The FA came over to me and took my order and it started with a mixed chicken with Chinese sausage as an appetizer. From there we moved over to caviar with garniture – the garlic bread that was served on the side was way too hard. And the small butter that was handed out had the Thai Airways logo on it but it was brick hard. On the Lufthansa flight the butter had been left out a bit so it was easier to spread on the bread – details, details.

Next dish was something called Lobster bellvue and it was cold lobster served with mozzarella and tomatoes on the side and some balsamic mayonnaise– I have to admit that I’m not that crazy about lobster….this lobster was too tough in my opinion.
For the main dish there were various options . lamb chops, stuffed chicken breast,  beef in green curry, tiger prawns in chili sauce etc. I went for the lamb chops served with vegetable and mashed potatoes on the side and it was a great dish – I enjoyed it with some red wine of course.

When I had finished the main course the FA came around with the cheese trolley and asked if I wanted some cheese. I’m a sucker for cheese so I accepted this of course…but I think that I got the world’s largest portions as I got big pieces of brie, blue cheese etc. Served with port wine it was excellent but there was no way I was able to finish all of it.
The meal was rounded off with a simple dessert…some candy and a choice of coffee and drinks. I have to admit that I like to round of a meal with coffee and Baileys but they did not have any Baileys on this flight so I went for some Otard 1795 instead. Back home this bottle will cost you close to 400 USD – too bad that I don’t have a clue about cognac so that I could really appreciate it.

After the meal the lights were turned off and I was watching the rest of Monsters vs. Aliens before I slipped into the pajamas and had some sleep. There seemed to be two toilets for the first class passengers and they were always clean. But when I went back to the toilet I had to “squeeze” past one of the seats and a curtain that was separating the First and Business class section I guess. The seat was not bad for sleeping in but I think I would have to say that the Lufthansa seat was a bit more comfortable but maybe it is not fair to compare as the Lufthansa flight was a night flight and the Thai flight was a day flight.

After about 5 hours after the last meal the lights came on partially in the cabin again and it was time for second serving. I guess I should have been full after the previous meal but strangely enough I was ready for more food. After a couple of canapés we got the first dish which was marinated beef served on vermicelli (glass noodles thai style) and served with smoked salmon with a shrimp mascarpone and apple filling. This dish didn’t really work for me. Then I got a large portion of lobster soup which was very good but once again the portion was a bit too generous. There were several options for main meal: sliced veal Zurich style, cider braised pork chops, chicken curry Pa-naeng and wok fried stuffed prawn mousse. I went for the boring option…sliced veal. The veal was served with a great thick sauce and it was excellent. The meal was rounded off with a Lemon almond tart which was not that good.

After this meal the lights were turned off again and I’m not sure why this was done – were we expected to sleep again? I guess that is the challenge of long day flights. But after close to 12 hours and 9000 km it was time for landing in Frankfurt
It was not a problem having such a long flight when seated on First class of course. I had lots of great food and drinks and the entertainment options were not bad at all. So the big question is…which was better: Lufthansa First Class (see ) or Thai First Class? I’m not sure I’m able to pick a winner here. Even if Thai has newer seats, the Lufthansa seats did feel very comfortable. And the food serving on both flights were very nice. But if I also include the lounges in advance I would have to say that Lufthansa is the winner.
Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

Greetings from Royal First Class lounge Bangkok Oct 01

After the stay in Hong Kong and a short stop in Bangkok it is now time to go home.  So this morning (October 1st) I took a taxi from Bangkok to Suvarnabhumi airport (pronounced something like su-waan-na-poom if you wonder) and it was a slow process as the remains of the typhoon Ketsena made it pour down. But I got to the airport eventually and walked over to the Royal First sign outside of the airport and a guy in Thai airways uniform helped me with my suitcase and escorted me to the First class check in area located at the one end of the terminal. Check in was fast as I was the only one there but it was a bit of a surprise when I had to pay a 700 Baht (21 USD) airport tax – I have not done that in a while at Bangkok airport – I guess it has been included in my tickets before.

From check in I was escorted to the immigration control where I got my passport stamped and through the first class security control where there were no other passengers. And right behind security was the escalator down to the lounge. I thought I was there already but this turned out to be the regular business class lounge. But as soon as I came down the escalator a small buggy car turned up from nowhere and I was asked to get on to be transported to the First Class lounge. I know the business lounge is kinda long but I still feel silly being transported in a small car when I’m still capable of walking ;-)

I was pretty much alone in the Thai First class lounge and it was of course with some anticipation that I entered the lounge – after all this lounge has been voted the best First Class lounge in the world in 2009 by Skytrax . So how would it compare to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal experience? (see previous entries on and . As in the business class lounge I was met by lots of staff greeting me with the traditional wai and I was led by one girl to the seating area. In this lounge you can choose to have a separate room with a few recliners and a TV or you can sit in recliners in the main seating area. The lounge looks pretty exclusive with the large chairs, the soft carpet and this use of dark wood on pillars and walls. I did ask if I could take some pictures and a guy escorted me around and proudly showed me the Skytrax award that is on display in the lounge itself. There is of course a business center where you can use a PC, a separate dining area, a smokers lounge with great ventilation etc.

The food selection was not really that impressive – all the hot food was to order and not buffet style and I had the option of spaghetti Bolognese, spaghetti cabonara, wonton soup, chicken in green curry Thai style, pork in teriyaki and I think that was about it. So all in all the food selection is not spectacular if you compare it with the Emirates lounge in London or the Lufthansa First Class terminal. The drink menu is also a lot shorter in the Royal First lounge but I think that most people will find something they like as they can offer cocktails, beer, port, a couple of red wines and Moet & Chandon champagne.

Another difference from First Class Terminal in Frankfurt compared to the lounge in Bangkok is that the lounge in Bangkok is located above one of the main areas of the airport and you get the constant buzz from the rest of the airport. I think I prefer the serenity of the First Class Terminal ;-)

There are also 4-5 shower rooms at the First class lounge that seemed to be very nice and also 4-5 slumber rooms were you can catch some sleep.

One great thing about the lounge in Bangkok is that fact that you have a Royal Orchid Spa. If you have been to Thailand you know that getting a message is quite common so even at the airport they have a spa. When I first arrived I was asked if I wanted a message and I said sure of course. Initially I asked for “just” the neck and shoulder message but everyone I talked to asked me I wanted the 1 hour full body massage….so in the end I caved in and agreed on that. The spa is located just a minute walk away from the lounge and I walked over there and got a lemongrass drink and a cold cloth while I was waiting, But soon I was led into a spa room and told to get undressed and take a shower and get ready for the message. I would of course post some pictures of myself in disposable underwear but in fear of scaring away new readers I think I will avoid that ;-) Anyway, it was really, really nice to get a one hour massage at the airport while waiting for the flight.

After the massage I went back to the lounge, had some teriyaki pork lunch and enjoyed a few glasses of champagne before I was told that my flight was ready for boarding. My flight was due to leave from C6 and a lady walked with me to make sure that I went the right way (not that I had been drinking THAT much) and once I got to the gate it looked like I was the last one there….perfect timing in other words. But more about the flight in the next chapter

So what is the conclusion? Which lounge is better…the First class lounge in Bangkok or the Lufthansa First Class terminal? Well, I have to say that I think Skytrax is wrong. The Lufthansa First Class terminal is far better than the First class lounge in Bangkok. First of all the First class terminal in Frankfurt feels more exclusive as it is separate from the main terminal and you don’t get the noise from the airport as you do at the lounge in Bangkok. The food and drink selection at the Lufthansa first class terminal is far better than in the lounge in Bangkok. But I have to say that having a one hour full body massage as a part of the service at the lounge in Bangkok was very, very nice.  But in the end…the Lufthansa First class terminal wins in my opinion.

Flight to Hong Kong – Lufthansa First Class Sep 28

At about 5.30 PM one of the staff came over to me in the lounge and said ”Mr. Karlsen. The flight to Hong Kong is ready for boarding”. So I packed my stuff together and went with him downstairs where I got my passport back from the First Class lounge tiny little passport control and then I was handed over to a driver that took me to her Mercedes S400 Hybrid…she told me that they had only had the car for about 2 weeks so it was brand new. The Lufthansa First class lounge experience was great – the service was impeccable and both food and drink selection impressive – going to a SAS lounge after this will never be the same.

My driver took me to the Lufthansa 747-400 plane and she walked me to the door of the plane before she said goodbye and I was handed over to the staff on board. It has been a long time since I had the pleasure of walking up the stairs to the top floor of a 747. The Lufthansa first class is located on the upper deck of the 747 and there are about 16 seats there. They seem to be a bit old and I understand that an upgrade is being planned in the end of this year. I had seat 83 K which is by the emergency exit so there was lots of space. But note that there is a permanent “trolley” here where they store drinks. Some have mentioned this as a problem but I didn’t think this was an issue.

My FA asked me right away if I wanted something to drink…so I went for the Champagne, The champagne of the day was Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Rare. I have to say that after being through Bollinger, Taittinger, Taittinger Rose and several types of red wines in the lounge, I was not really capable to tasting the fine qualities of the Piper-Heidsieck – but it seemed pretty good. When I asked my FA what kind of champagne I was drinking he informed me and then he asked “Why? You didn’t like it?” – not sure why he assumed that. After about 40 minutes we were pushed back and rolled across their airport to get ready for takeoff. Takeoff feels different when seated on the upper floor that’s for sure. Before takeoff we got slippers, a toiletry bag and pajamas. The FA asked about my size and I was like “I don’t know…what do you think?” He seemed a bit bothered by this – I guess he have heard it before. But I ended up with Large to extra large that was a bit too big for me.   The toiletry bag was pretty big but didn’t really contain that much. Ear plugs in a holder, a tooth brush and tooth paste, a comb, a face mask, a moisturizer and a shoe horn.

After takeoff we got a warm cloth soaked in water. I’m not sure what fragrance that was used but the scent was great :-) After about 30 minutes in the air the first class started their service  by putting a cloth on the table and handing out an appetizer…tuna fish with orange or something like that, I even got a real rose stuck in a hole next to my table. It was a nice touch I guess but it is not something I will miss if they remove it from the service. The tuna fish was great but it would have been great if they staff had informed me about what was being served. I also got menus by the way explaining what kind of drinks and food that I could expect

For starter I had the option of Caviar, crawfish, watermelon with goat cheese and tartar of goose breast. Next course was the option between a salad or spicy lemongrass soup and main course options were prawn, mushroom and pancetta stew, swordfish with beans, pumpkin ravioli and sugar or spice duck breast.
My FA took my order and while I was waiting I watched a bit of Angels & Demons on the TV screen. And this is one area where Lufthansa scores pretty low. The screen for each seat is TINY and can’t be compared to the Emirates option at all. When I flew Emirates A380 on business class I had a 17” screen or something  like that and on Lufthansa it is like 10”. But it is video on demand so you can pause it and stuff but the screen is jus t too tiny. About 1 hour into the flight the start was served and I got a nice portion of caviar. I think caviar is a bit like fois gras….it is great but only in small quantities :-)

I guess the FA had seen that I was taking a lot of photos so she kindly offered to take a photo of me ;.) The female FA did a good job by the way but I’m not sure I understand why she kept on addressing me in German to start with every time she spoke to me. Yes, I know that you would all like people to talk German but it is not really going to happen just because you start your conversation in German ;-)
The caviar was served with lemon, onion and some kind of sour cream on the side. From there we moved on to the salad which was a bit on the boring side but still pretty good.  For main course I chose the duck breast with polenta and spinach. Not bad at all and the duck has a lot more character than e.g. chicken.  But the combination of a chunk of meat, a scoop of polenta and a heap of spinach doesn’t really scream fine dining.

When dessert came around my female FA just skipped me for some reason…I guess she looked at me and thought “You’ve had enough” or maybe it was just a slip of the mind ;-) But I grabbed my male FA and asked him if I could get the pear tart with brown butter ice cream which tasted great with some decaf coffee and some Baileys. So after a loooong day it was time to call it the night. I went to bathroom and brushed my teeth and slipped into the pajamas and went to sleep. The chair was actually very comfortable as a bed and it felt like it was possible to recline it all the way back to a proper bed. I did sleep until I was woken up for breakfast ;-)

When I was woken I had a slight hang over from the drinks last night but that’s how the cookie crumbles right? ;-) Once again we were handed the cloth that smelled excellent and I also used the opportunity to slip into normal clothing again. The breakfast was a bit strange…the female FA asked if I wanted muesli but what I got was some sort of sour cream mix…and then I got honni corn on the side. I was not sure that that was it…but all of a sudden I was also asked if I wanted some scrambled eggs and bacon. All in all not a bad breakfast but it would have been great to get some information about the options…or maybe I didn’t read the breakfast menu well enough.

All good things come to an end right? And after about a 10 hour and 30 minute flight it was time to land in Hong Kong. After a steep descend we landed at Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong. If I were to give a conclusion of this flight I would say that Lufthansa delivers a very good product from the lounge to the flight experience. The service on board was good and even with their old layout, the seat was very comfortable and gave me a good night sleep. The food amd drink selection was also very nice. One area where there is room for a lot of improvement is of course when it comes to personal entertainment. The screen today is just too small compared to the competitors and even if “Size doesn’t matter” it was still just too tiny. When I checked the price of a round class ticket on first to HK, I think it was like 75000 Kroner (about 13.000 USD). I wouldn’t mind flying first class every time I travel but I’m not willing to spend that much on the ticket ;-) So I guess I have to save up some SAS points again so I can try out first class on a different airline.

Get in touch if you have any questions or comments :-)

A walk through the lounge Sep 27

Here is a short video showing a walk through of the Lufthansa First Class terminal lounge when it was pretty much empty.

Inside the Lufthansa First Class terminal Sep 26

I’m not sure when I heard about the Lufthansa First Class terminal the first time – I have been to some business class lounges over the years but the Lufthansa First Class terminal sounded pretty amazing. So when I booked my award ticket I made sure to go First Class vith Lufthansa via Frankfurt in order to get access (you can read more about who gets access on

The flight from Stavanger to Frankfurt took longer than expected. I think the flight took about 2 hours and 45 minutes!  When I came out of the plane there was a man there with a sign with my name on it and he had a nice Mercedes parked right next to him. So I joined him (he never actually checked my boarding card by the way) and he took me to the terminal building. He was initially planning on taking me to the First class lounge in the B building by I asked about the First Class Terminal so he drove me to the A section and I walked from there. To get to the First Class Terminal you have to walk out of the main terminal building and walk for 2-3 minutes to get to it. When you get there you actually have to ring the doorbell and one of the staff comes to fetch you.

The lady that escorted me in took my passport and boarding card and told me to just enjoy and I would get my passport back later on when it was time to board the plane – it is not that often that I hand over my passport like this but I guess you have to trust them.
When it comes to the lounge….well, I guess there is not that much to say apart from WOW. First of all there are lots of leather chairs spread out in the lounge and there were not many people there so finding a place to sit was not a problem. Each table had a selection of nuts so they have taken the roasted nuts to the next level  :-)

The selection of food seems to be pretty amazing…yes, the Emirates lounge in London was not bad either. But in the Lufthansa First Class lounge they have taken it to the next level. Lunch was pretty amazing with a huge selection of antipasti from a buffet (including huge a huge parma ham and a huge Pata Negra) and there were also several warm dishes including Thai soups, Indian food, risotto and so on, And for dessert a wide variety of sweet stuff including tiramisu, chocolate mousse, panna cotta etc. If you can’t find anything good to eat at this food buffet you either have some pretty weird food allergy or are very picky about what you eat.

As a Norwegian I also have to mention the drink menu….which is extensive :-) Here you can choose to drink Bollinger, Taittinger, Ruinart etc champagnes, 8 different red wines, 80 different scotch and whiskey’s !, 7 types of gin etc…you get the picture. It is quite nice to sip some good champagne while having some Voss water to keep saturated ;-) Apart from that the First Class terminal has a cigar lounge where you can enjoy your whiskey together with a cigar and they have 4 shower rooms where you can take a shower. I did take a shower and unfortunately the water was freezing. But apart from that the facilities are very nice. There are also a couple of rooms where you can get some sleep if you want to.

The internet is free of course and there are also several small “offices” where you can get access to the internet if you have not brought your own laptop. It does not get much better than this.

Join me at the Lufthansa First Class terminal Sep 26

About to enter Lufthansa First Class terminal in Frankfurt

Flight to Frankfurt Sep 26

The flight to Frankfurt was pretty standard apart from the fact that it took 2 1/2 hours as there was a “traffic jam” at Frankfurt airport. Here are some photos and videos.

How did he know…. Sep 26

I had a very early flight today and I came to the airport at about 5.30 AM. Stavanger airport is getting too small it seems like because once again there was quite a lot of chaos. I went to the lines where you can normally find Lufthansa business class check in but this was all of a sudden replaces by Thomas Cook as there was a plane leaving for “syden” (charter plane to the south of Europe). All of a sudden this SAS employee comes up to me and says without further introduction and like he read my mind “There is a bit of chaos here and the business check in counter is not open. But here is your boarding card” And then he handed me the boarding pass in a Lufthansa First class folder. How did he know that I was the right person to hand the boarding card to?? Anyway, great service from the guy and SAS :-) He told me to just cut in line for the baggage drop as I was flying business but when I came over to the one baggage drop counter the guy there wouldn’t have anyone trying to bypass the line. So he told me to just get in line…and it was loooooong. So I went over to the guy who handed me the boarding pass and he kindly took me to a empty check in counter so that I could drop by luggage there. Thanks for the great service ;-)

Getting ready for Hong Kong Sep 25

Tomorrow morning I’m going to Hong Kong and I’m first of all looking forward to the First class experience on Lufthansa both on the ground and in the air ;-) So I’ll be starting at the crack of dawn with a flight from Stavanger to Frankfurt and after a few hours I’m going to Hong Kong on the upper floor of a Lufthansa 747. This will be a pretty short trip but I have to admit that I’m not very good at packing. There are websites dedicated to how to pack smart and light but I have never been any good at that. I normally start the night before I travel and pack in state of panic I guess and I normally bring too much. But hey, better safe than sorry right? Below is my trusted Samsonite suitcase in the process of being filled  ;-) So what does one wear when flying first class I wonder? I have prepared my tuxedo and hope that will be sufficient ;-)